Redesigning my Choir Handbook
Updated: Sep 1, 2022
My old handbook was tried and true. I've used it without fail since my first year, after I adapted it from my supervising teacher. It's still a solid foundation, but it just didn't feel like the best fit for my new program.
My primary performance group this year is an after school based choir that I'm meeting with twice a week for an hour. During the day, my classes are choir based, but not yet tied with any required performances.
The Business of Choir has been on my summer reading list. Both authors work with community youth choirs, and that sparked my imagination: what if I base my handbook off of handbooks from community children's choirs? If they only meet once a week and can be successful, then surely I can learn something from that model.
BTW, this book dropped at a perfect time for me, and has given me a lot of food for thought going into this new situation.
I started by checking out the handbook for Pensacola Children's Chorus, and then later referenced handbooks for Blair Children's Chorus and Cincinnati Youth Choir. Here are the links for each handbook I looked at:
Pensacola Children's Chorus- Participation Policies
Blair Children's Chorus: BCC Handbook
Cincinnati Youth Choir: Handbook
Each of these organizations has a reputation for success in their communities, so I looked at them specifically because I wanted to see what policies they have in place. I noticed some recurring things in each of these policy manuals:
Clear attendance expectations
Clear behavior expectations (not only for students, but parents)
Establishing dates in advance, and multiple means of communication
To me, these seem like the important foundational elements for a group run outside of normal school hours that aren't held accountable with a grade.
My new handbook
This new version of my handbook is a pieced together combination of things I wanted to keep from my old handbook, and things I found from my deep dive that I felt would be good additions. When I first started my rough draft, I literally just copied and pasted things from all of the different documents. Once I got the basic idea I was after, I went back through and edited so that it felt like me.
Download my handbook and make it your own!
Don't feel like you've got to re-invent the wheel...feel free to download copies of either version of my Chorus Handbook and adapt it in a way that works for you.